Colombian researchers to test Raspberry Pi breathing machine

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A research team in Colombia is going to test a ventilator that works with a Raspberry Pi computer in the fight against the corona virus. The design is by an American, and is based on easy-to-find parts and the cheap computer.

According to the South American research team, it is difficult to find the ‘traditional’ parts for ventilators in the country. That’s why the American’s design is very important for Colombia, the researchers tell the BBC. The device is being tested in an accelerated procedure in two universities in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. First, the machine will provide non-stop ventilation to artificial lungs for five days. Animal testing will then follow and if all goes well, the first human tests will start at the end of May. Mass production for hospitals could then start in the middle of this year.

The ventilator’s design and idea came from Marco Mascorro, a robotics engineer in California. He has no experience with medical equipment, but said he is making the device because there is a high demand for ventilators that can help patients with the coronavirus. Many medics gave their reaction to Mascorro’s design, which has thereby improved his design.

In its machine, the Raspberry Pi monitors air pressure, controls valves and regulates the ventilator support the patient needs. Mascorro’s code is open source. In terms of easy-to-find parts, for example, the device uses valves that can be easily found at auto and plumbing stores, according to the BBC.

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